Annual Reports Go Online

Annual reports are evolving from piles of paper to digital documents, and Nasdaq OMX is helping companies make that move. The New York-based exchange is now offering the Dynamic Annual Report, an enhanced edition of its tool kit for assembling an electronic version of the report.

While the first release of the product produced a PDF version of an annual report, says Demetrios Skalkotos, senior vice president of global corporate services at Nasdaq, the upgrade deploys better technology. "When you're flipping the pages, it's like you're turning the pages of the book," Skalkotos says. "It actually reads like a book on line, so it provides some extra sensory stimulation that hopefully will keep the eyeballs focused."

The enhanced product also lets companies add video to their annual reports, he says. "It really brings the annual report to life in our opinion."

Skalkotos says the trend is for companies to push more information onto the Web and then notify investors where the information can be found.

In 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission's e-proxy rule said that instead of having to send investors an annual report and proxy in the mail, companies could simply mail them a notice that the annual report and proxy were available on line.

Companies are expected to realize savings by publishing the information electronically instead of mailing all those paper documents. Skalkotos notes that online annual reports are also a plus for shareholders. "Investors want to get this information more readily, easily accessible," he says.

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